MORAL POWER, by Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

How can our earth have such plenitude of life, clean water, and dense forests just 12,000 years ago, but now have become reduced to increasing scarcity of life, unclean water, and diminishing forests along with rising human misery after only a few hundred years? What is the cause or what is to blame? I think that history reveals a clear relation between the choices we make and planetary enhancement or degradation.

We cannot blame technology in and of itself because technologies of whatever kind are merely instruments of human creation and use. Technologies do not have a practical purpose independent of the design given to them by human beings. Technologies are only purposeful when guided by the hand of a human being.

The technologies which are designed, mass produced, and marketed by corporate power elites filter down to billions of people in global markets and into homes worldwide. Then, when used on a mass scale by people who do not understand the harm such technologies do, the harm done to earth grows to immeasurable depths.[1]

The mass use of a single technology like a cellular phone or automobile by billions of human beings on any given day is causing mass irreparable damage to the fabric of our moral lives and to life forms on earth. The fact is that moral depravity and earthly depravity are positively correlated.

The signs of global resource scarcity, environmental imbalance, and rise in human misery point to specific choices which some human beings have been making with cold indifference to other better alternative choices which could have been made by them.  Their choices are ‘moral choices’.  Moral action and its opposite called negligence are the context of all human relations.

Both the Bible and the Holy Quran make the same argument by means of an allegorical story.[2] The first human beings were made guardians of a Garden; imagine that the Garden symbolizes the Earth.  A guardian is a moral overseer. Their prime directive from God was to do no harm and break no promises.  After committing harm and breaking a promise, the first human beings were condemned to physical, emotional, and spiritual degeneration in perpetuity. It is called: the fall from grace. That allegorical story implies the necessity of making moral choices so that we can have healthy social and environemental relations.

In law school, I studied the law of Torts. I studied a branch of Tort called the Tort of Negligence.[3] The central proposition in the law of negligence is simple. It is that ‘every person has a duty of due care so as not to harm another’. When one breaches his or her duty of due care to other persons and harms them, they are defined by law as having been negligent.  They are defined as having breached ‘the social contract.’[4]

Before we act, we should always consider what behavior is the best behavior so that we reduce the chance we will do harm to another including all other animals. Undeniably, the law of Negligence is a moral principle. The law of Negligence is a civil law implicit in all criminal laws; it is a fundamental principle in all human groups. The fact that human groups exist at all makes moral principles self-evident.

When a person is presented with more than one choice of action in a circumstance, the question is: which option is the best choice out of several alternatives? There is always the best choice of action out of several options in every given circumstance.

Some scholars argue that human beings are fundamentally selfish.[5] But the best choice cannot simply be that choice which optimizes what is good or pleasurable for the person making the choice. That would be an act of irrational selfishness.[6] For what is good for one person or even several persons or even a whole nation may be disastrous for billions of other persons in the short and long run.

Evidence exist to support that claim. Look at the last several thousand years of what I call the ‘Empire Game’. The Empire Game has been and is now an unmitigated disaster for all humanity. The Empire Game has even assumed the title of ‘World History’ implying that all other facets of human history are less important than it.

But there is also what are called in law ‘acts of omission’. Sometimes, under some circumstances, even making no choice can be an act of negligence which causes harm to another. Therefore, the argument that ‘some choices are amoral’ meaning morally neutral is a false premise because individuals and groups always make choices they define as good or pleasurable for themselves. And those choices even if it is a choice not to choose any course of action always cause effects. Therefore, there is no such thing as an ‘amoral’ choice because all choices and even decisions not to choose have unintended consequences on other people and the earth.[7]

For that reason, the issue of moral power and its effect on human and other environmental relations is the central problem facing us today. It is a central problem facing descendants of slaves. If that problem is not solved quickly, there will be no hope for mass survival during this age of global dysfunction.[8]

The political, corporate, and religious power elite casts a very long shadow over billions of people on this earth of ours. At the end of the day, their shadows convert to social and spiritual privation for all those living in their shadow. In a sense their shadow blocks rational sunlight from reaching into the lives of many people. It makes us less able to live moral lives because it stresses us to be less cooperative and more irrational and conflictual in relation to our neighbors and earth.

For subordinate people, everywhere, the life of the power elite is the antithesis of the life lived by those in their shadow. The elite, whether they be political, religious, or business elites, live a life of wealth and intellectual supremacy at the biological, economic and social expense of all people subordinate to them. 

What can we do? Can we hypothetically get a grasp of the gravity of our social and economic problems? Let’s imagine some possibilities and follow them through to a conclusion. Let’s do a thought experiment.

Hypothetically speaking, if every descendant of slaves who is incarcerated in State, Federal, County, and City jails were released tomorrow; and

Hypothetically speaking, if every descendant of slaves who is released vowed to never commit another crime; and,

Hypothetically speaking, if no crimes were committed by descendants of slaves released from prison thereafter; and,

Hypothetically speaking, if all other descendants of slaves vowed that they would never break the law; and,

Hypothetically speaking, if all descendants of slaves in fact did not commit felonies ever again in the United States, then what would happen?

First, there would be an extra million and a half descendants of slaves living mainly in cities but also in small towns throughout the United States.

One million and a half more descendants of slaves would immediately add about 2% to the African American unemployment rate which already stands at about 16% or twice that of White unemployment.  That would make the unemployment rate for African Americans about 18%.   What can we compare an 18% unemployment rate to?  For that, we turn to the 20th century.

During the height of the 20th century’s great depression, the percentage of unemployed Americans was 25%. Thus, if there were a 2% rise in unemployment, descendants of slaves would experience an economic depression equivalent to the great depression wherever they lived in the United States in 2017.

Secondly, if no crimes were committed by descendants of slaves, the criminal justice system would collapse unless it seized upon another ethnic group to criminalize. Let’s assume the criminal justice system did not seize upon another ethnic victim. What would happen?

An unintended consequence of mass lawful behavior would be a second wave of unemployment adding to the 2% rise in black unemployment; but this time among whites. The ripple effect would expand far and wide into the economy. Share value in private for profit prisons stock would literally become worthless. Billions of dollars would be lost over night making wealthy white investors poor.

What would happen is that the “1,719 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 942 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,283 local jails, and 79 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, and prisons in the U.S. territories” would get significant Federal, State, County, and city budget cuts. That would include cutbacks in criminal courts with district attorneys, public defenders, police officers, and private criminal lawyers becoming unemployed along with everyone who works in the criminal justice system from administrators, correctional officers, to janitors. It would affect over 500, 000 individual employees and their families. In dollar terms, let’s say a cutback of about $85 billion dollars nationwide.  State, Federal governments would lose money because they would no longer have a justification for increased taxation of citizens to support the criminal justice system. Look at the graph below to get a bird’s eye view of the magnitude of economic dependence governments and corporations have on crime and the incarceration of descendants of slaves.

What would all those descendants of slaves choose to do under such circumstances? The economic characteristics of the United States are changing so fast that even the most educated Americans are continually having to retool their skills to keep up with technological change. How can under-educated ex-felon descendants of slaves be expected to do so?

 

Robots at the “Hannover Messe” trade fair in Hanover, Germany, April 2014[9].

The fact is that there would be no jobs for most of them aside from agricultural employment. The reasons that they would have nothing to do center around 1) their general lack of education. Here are the facts: “About 41% of inmates in the Nation’s State and Federal prisons and local jails in 1997 and 31% of probationers had not completed high school or its equivalent. In comparison, 18% of the general population age 18 or older had not finished the 12th grade.”[10] The educational characteristics of incarcerated descendants of slaves change at a glacial pace. The same educational characteristics hold true in 2017.

A second reason is that negative stigmata would be attached to them for having been incarcerated and simply for being ‘black’ in this white supremacist society.

Descendants of slaves have never been able to even minimally compete with the dominate white culture on any level. Some say ‘well what about sports’? I say to them that ‘No descendent of slaves owns a professional sport team in any league or sport.’ That holds true generally in the entertainment industry as well. Some others will argue, ‘well we can restart Black Wall Street such as the one which existed in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the 1920s.’ I say, “one cannot step twice into the same river.” Times, circumstances, and especially sentiments among Descendants of Slaves completely rule out that possibility. Some others will say: we can join a church or Masjid or Temple. I say that none of those American religious institutions will bite the hand which feeds them. They have become instruments of the banking system debt slavery and therefore of Wall Street.

Furthermore, that kind of change is not likely now because of ethnic integration and the rapidity of technological changes taking place. Add to that the increasing dysfunctional social life of most descendants of slaves particularly those million and a half individuals in our thought experiment now out of prisons and jails.  It leads to one conclusion. The only rational choice, the best choice, for descendants of slaves would be the choice to exercise moral power. Simply obey all laws. 

[1] Include under technology genetically modified organisms.

[2] Genesis Chapter 2, Torah; Holy Quran 2:30

[3] The Tort of Negligence literally means: the harm of negligence

[4] The Social Contract. Jean-Jacques Rousseau

[5] Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, 1849; Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, 1976

[6] All human beings are intinctual or behaviorally unconsciously driven but we are also conscious and rational when fully developed. Moral decisions arise out of rational deliberation. Out of that kind of deliberation society is made possible. There is initially an imbalance in favor of instinct. But over time conscious rationality more or less increases.

[7] I once heard George Soros say that his decisions are ‘amoral’. Soros is in conscious denial or lying.

[8] William Vogt, Road to Survival; chapter 2, ‘Biotic Limits’, 1944

[9] Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee, and Michael Spence July/August 2014

[10] Education and Correctional Populations, Bureau of Justice Statistics, by Caroline Wolf Harlow, Ph.D., 2003

Donald Trump Wears A Hard Hat: Get Ready to Move…Again, by Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

 

A report by Reuters on December 19, 2016, written by M.B. Bell and Joshua Schneyer, identified thousands of areas across the United States where lead poisoning is worse than it is in Flint, Michigan: “A Reuter examination of lead testing results across the country found almost 3000 areas with poisoning rates far higher than in the tainted Michigan City.” Reuters stopped their count at 3000. There are thousands more.

For over 100 years, scientists and scholars have known of the deleterious effects of lead poisoning on the human body particularly the brain in young and old persons. But we will not rehash the scientific findings of the specific effects of lead poisoning in this article. Nor shall we examine the criminal proceedings now in process against those responsible for the lead poisoning disaster in Flint, Michigan. Those subjects are not the main point I want to make here because there is another crisis looming on the horizon and it will be a collateral effect of lead testing results across the nation.

A demographic crisis is forming. It will displace millions of Descendants of Slaves out of inner cities across the United States. The crisis will put gentrification into hyper-drive and there will be no stopping it from happening because there are no credible reasons to make the argument that it would not be legal nor is there a persuasive moral argument that it should not happen.

Bell and Schneyer identified Flint, Michigan; we can add to that Detroit; Chicago, Illinois. They also identified the city of Baltimore, Maryland; Missouri;  Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Cleveland, Ohio; Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; South Bend, Indiana. But there are thousands more cities across the nation wherein children and adults suffer brain damage due to lead poisoning.  

Let me put it another way, it will be the great migration in reverse. But this time with no hope of a higher quality of life in an industrial urban setting with plenty of blue collar and domestic jobs.[1] What is going to happen may or may not be more pressing because of Donald Trump’s election to be our 45th President of the United States.

It is not a Republican nor Democratic nor Libertarian scheme, for the political bosses are but emissaries; rather, it is a corporate scheme to turn leaded inner city infrastructures into healthy and vibrant life centers with plush recreational parks for the power elite.

Donald Trump will become the President of the United States on January 20, 2017. He is uniquely qualified to carry the corporate ball down field and to make their plan a reality because his expertise is in the field of building construction and eminent domain. When they see an opening in the line, corporate America crashes everything and moves the ball through it.They will be awarded billions of tax payer dollars by getting government contracts. They will for the most part be white owned companies. 

That begs the question: what will be the rational used to trigger the crisis? My answer is that it will be based upon ‘condemnation policy’ for public health and safety purposes. It will be legal. Lead infested infrastructures are a cause for public health and safety action by local, state, and federal governments. The U.S. Constitution gives governments the legal authority to have such policy.

The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides for the legal acquisition of private property under what is called ‘eminent domain’. Therein it states: “…nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

What that means is that governments have a legal duty. Governments must provide due process of law to the property owner. Governments must serve a legal or natural person who owns the property a notice of the date and place a court proceeding is to take place. They must cite the law upon which such a notice is based. Governments must make it clear that their aim is to take away the property of the holder of title. Governments must provide for such a private owner a day in court to argue why the government has no legal or rational basis to take their property.

Secondly, if a government takes a private property then it must pay the owner fair market value for that property. Then and only then can a government legally take private property for public use or purposes.

Supreme Court decisions have expanded the limits of governments’ right to seize private property from owners. Those decisions are of vital importance to us because they will enable us to see the corporate strategy or play book for taking lead infested environments and booting out descendants of slaves.

The problem that Descendants of Slaves have in relation to eminent domain is more complex now than ever before. Keep this in mind, most Descendants of Slaves who live within inner cities where lead is a public health and safety issue…do not own the property wherein they live. That means that: 1. No notice will be given to them of court proceedings to take property; they will usually get 30 to 60 days to move, and 2. though the owners will get fair market value compensation from government, the fact is that most Descendants of Slaves will get no compensation whatsoever. With little or no money and priced out of high rent neighborhoods, most Descendants of Slaves will have nowhere to go.[2] New Supreme Court decisions now make all of this not just possible but highly likely.

In Kelo v. City of New London,[3] 545 U.S. 469 (2005), the Supreme Court of the United States held that  the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another private owner to further economic development is constitutional: “In a 5–4 decision, the Court held that the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified private redevelopment plans as a permissible “public use” under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.” That decision made ‘public use takings’ synonymous with ‘public purpose’. The court privatized the 5th amendment takings clause.  If a company can prove that it plans the broad and vague phrase ‘public purpose’ to a court, then it can legally take private property and remarket it for profit.

The test employed under Kelo v. City of New London is a simple one: “…if an economic project creates new jobs, increases taxes and other revenues, and revitalizes a depressed (even if not blighted) urban area, it qualifies as a public use.” Justice Stevens wrote in that decision: “the Court long ago rejected any literal requirement that condemned property be put into use for the general public”[4] The foundation has been laid. Cities across the nation will take advantage of this diction to attract a wealthier population while pushing out poor whites and descendants of slaves.

There will be many other collateral effects. Some will be beneficial. For example, there will be a steep decline in black on black homicide and violent crime. There will be a steep decline in the number of Descendants of Slaves incarcerated. There will be a steep decline in the number children who are exposed to lead and other heavy metal toxins. Just to name a few.

Some of the harmful collateral effects will be increased poverty among descendants of slaves; few jobs which provide a livable wage; greater spatial difficulty accessing vocational and college institutions; the end of national grass root social justice organizations which depend upon a concentrated population of Descendants of Slaves for support; social alienation among poor and wealthy Descendants of Slaves; drug abuse will increase; fertility rates will decrease even lower than now; the marriage rate will continue to decline and will become the lowest in the nation; the traditional ‘black church’ will wither away.

The black church will be replaced by ecumenical churches which abandon Descendants of Slaves primarily because they are generally poor. Instead they will reach out to non-descendants of slaves as the religious priests struggle to keep their revenue streams fluid; and lastly, there will be an increase in more psychopathic individuals making claims to you on social media that you should give them your money.[5]

The fabric and texture of the lives of Descendants of Slaves in America is about to undergo such a radical change that many will suffer what the sociologist Emile Durkheim described as ‘anomie’. Consequently, suicide rates among Descendants of Slaves will rise significantly over the next 10 years.

Adding to the overall post-modern disenfranchisement of Descendants of Slaves is new technology. New technologies such as Nano technology, Bio- technology, Robotic technology or artificial intelligence, and an increasing demand for brain driven workers has made most Descendants of Slaves literally obsolete.    

Great play writers know that there are only three ideal types in drama. One is comedy. One is tragedy. And one is a combination of both called…tragicomedy. Descendants of Slaves have no doubt played all three of these types for three centuries and continue to do so. 

But all plays must inevitably come to an end. So, now, the curtain draws slowly on this one, too. I know you want to hear something good, something positive for the new year. You want to see fireworks; sparklers and such. But I’m not going to lie to you. I don’t want your money because I know what true wealth is; and I don’t need you to be up in my face crowd pleasing me.  So, I don’t need to sugar coat what I say to you.  It will be an unhappy new year for Descendants of Slaves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Great Migration was the movement of 6 million African-Americans out of the rural Southern United States to the urban Northeast, Midwest, and West that occurred between 1910 and 1970. Wikipedia

[2] Section 8 housing will place many of them far out into the suburbs.

[3] 545 U.S. 469 (2005)

[4] 545 U.S. 469

[5] This can already be seen on Go Fund Me cites as well as You-tube, Facebook, et al.